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György Orth: the art of football I.

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-03-28 12:25:37

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Part I.
György Orth | 1924

I, who try to explain my humble abilities to the general public week after week, am now sitting in front of the Desk with acceptance, the work I have undertaken today is so unusual. I, who have been using my feet to find my way to the hearts of the audience, are trying the same thing with my head today, and even if they find it natural that a football player sometimes stumbles, I ask you not to remind me of the referee now and not whistle.
If I ask myself why I am praised for speaking to a sports-loving audience at all, which is so rarely given to players in other sports, I find no other explanation than that football and its players have come closer to the hearts of the public, like other sports with less struggles and fewer surprises, the question arises involuntarily about the characteristic qualities of football that elevate it to such an exceptional position, because we see that not only in Hungary but also abroad: in England and America football, or its varieties, dominate and captivate the public interest to such an extent that the outcome of a match of international importance is considered almost a national matter. Nothing is more characteristic of this than the answer given to a geography teacher by an English schoolboy who asked about New-Castle, England's largest mining town and also home to England's best football team: "Where is New-Castle?" "At the head of the league!" the boy replied without hesitation.
That is why they do not ask in Pest geography classes where Újpest is, but we are confident that the question will be included again in the spring curriculum.
So what’s the magic of this vicious sport of sitting on souls like that?
One of its qualities is certainly not merely individual performance, but team sports, which, in addition to individual excellence, showcases all the many beauties that come from understanding, working together, supporting each other and playing around each other where the individual can excel without dominating and subordinating himself without being lost.
If I look for the qualities that help a footballer both succeed in sports and appreciate the audience, in addition to physical abilities, I see primarily four spiritual qualities as the most necessary and these are: intelligence, self-discipline, courage, and self-sacrifice.
Perhaps I can best illuminate my position by illustrating one or two examples of the significance of each spiritual property.
The intelligent game consists of two parts: technique and tactics.
By technique we mean the perfection of ball handling, which includes controlling and stopping the ball (passing and stopping), dribbling the opponent, and heading.
Tactic is the commanding ability that, in understanding and using both our own position and that of our personnel, and their abilities, they work together to achieve its goal.
The word technical encompasses a whole complex of qualities, and those we know as technical players are not once without one skill or another. The most common eclipse is one-legged, and I can't forget the incomparable Robertson, who recommended a player:
— Please, you have two legs!
The appreciation in England of the rule that a true classic can only be a two-legged player is vividly illustrated by the case of Owen, who was an excellent right-wing man as a child but could barely use a ball. His father, once a passionate football player, forbade him to play football at the age of 14, in all places other than his far-left post, and although the child complained at first about the blams in the unusual place, his father played until his legs were the same. and as a result he became a permanent member of an English professional team.
However, there is no need to doubt the rule, of which, this is already the nature of rules, there have been a number of exceptions. Suffice it to mention Gyula Feldmann, our multiple defender of the national team, who, even on his last tour of Germany, insisted that he would never learn two things in his life: speak German and play with his left foot.
However, he has since learned German.
Even the world-famous Schlosser liked to carry the ball to his left, and despite having achieved great results, one can only imagine how incomparable he would have been if he could play with both feet equally.
If I were asked which of the technical skills I consider most important, I would subscribe without hesitation to the immortal Robertson's principle that he is not a footballer who cannot control the ball. I can add that in the "robertson" sense we have some footballers. I almost ask readers, who I know are fans of the sport, to make sure of the truth of this principle and to note that a large percentage of the balls received by the opponent come from balls that bounce off the feet of the wrong ball control.
As infinitely important as it is to stop the ball, it wouldn’t be a big deal to stop any ball that gets in my way. It was the aforementioned Robertson, the greatest authority of all time, who demanded that the ball be passed as fast as possible — mainly the half-backs, because every loss of time in passing provides an opportunity to the opponent to cover the ball’s expectations. We have heard many times from our best forwards the pleasure it is to play in front of such well-fitting halves as Gyuszi Biró, Hlavay and Kürschner, from whom they received the ball at the moment when their way to the goal is still free. Fortunately, the audience is now an expert and we often hear that exclamation from the grandstand:
— Hey! If you threw the ball to the striker right away, what a nice goal situation it would have been!
Unfortunately, everyone sees this, not just the selfish half-back who wants to show off his dribbling science, preferring to wait for the cover of an opponent, which is beautifully played, but until then, unfortunately, all his fellow strikers are covered.
If I may make a respectful request to the audience, I beg you not to reward such unnecessary dribbles, no matter how beautiful, with applause, because it is for these applause that unscrupulous players sacrifice the interests of the team. Although Robertson claimed the flying pass is excellent in terms of winning time, we all know that this is not always possible, and even the very precise forwarded stopped balls is given to very few players.
In the age of the wireless telegraph and the airplane, they rightly claim that nothing has progressed as far as technology. If we extend what we can rightly do to progress to football technique, the biggest step forward is the increasing subordination of individual play to overall play.
In the childhood years of football, the big player was the one who got the ball in the middle line, dribbling the covers and backs all the way, and tired, tumbled to the goal and had the strength left for a more or less placed shot. The spirit of the age is overwhelmed by selfish play and today every child knows that football is a colective game that cannot be played individually and that whoever keeps the ball for a long time stops the pace of the game so much and makes it so easy to defend against it.
Three healthy passes are more likely to promote goal scoring than any long dribbling!
The interplay is a gain in space and time: in space, because as long as the dribbler necessarily runs three meters in an obstacle, the passes to each other can be execured. In time: because the dribbling is necessarily slower than a sprinter waiting for passes. Amazingly, although all players are aware of the importance of passing, we still see that there are very few who can get the ball to their partner accurately. There are two reasons for this: one is the lack of spring technology. We see that for years even a player who has been playing and training on a daily day cannot master the science that requires a whole special and rare gift in practice, a gift in softness and subtlety comparable to the blade guide of a fencer or the touch of a piano player's key. The rarity of this science shows that of the many selected English full-backs, we have heard of Crompton alone being able to drop the ball from any point on the field to his teammate. Another reason for bad passing is a lack of intelligence. We all see from the grandstand many times that a member of the strike line waits freely and unmarked and the ball almost wishes for him, yet we see that the holder of the ball does not send the ball to him, but to a fellow player who is already surrounded by three opponents.
However, even the player who fits the most perfectly is paralyzed if his teammates do not support him with their positions and movements. No matter how many times we see a striker in possession of the ball. whose all four strikers are covered by the opponent. How can the problem of passing be solved? It’s not as if the ball-holder is dribbling his opponent to carry the ball until one of the defenders pulls one of his fellow players free, or much easier if one of his four covered strikers runs free to make a line for the pass. It is not in vain that G. O. Smith, the most selfless English national centre-forward, writes:
— The ball should not be passed where your partner stands, but where he will stand!
Therefore, the difference between amateur and professional football is that in the professional not only the one who has the ball plays, but we also see all his mates running, the attackers in order to take the passes freely from the holder of the ball, the defenders to block the passing lines. The biggest mistake the striker, who is on the run to pick up the pass, is not to persevere over when to run off-side. The sportsman's heart bleeds to see a nicely well-thought-out attack wasted on a little impatience. And perhaps I should ask my Hungarian colleagues from this place to practice the tiny self-discipline necessary to stay behind the ball in the momentum of the attack.